Rolling up plastic for his dog sled runners? That's hard. Lifting his left arm above his chest? That hurts.I was pulling for Rick to make a comeback and add to his 5 victories before Mackey or Buser tied him this year. As it looks now I don't see how he can possibly be competitive. Hang in there Rick.
But mushing with what appears to be a broken collar bone isn't as bad as five-time Iditarod champion Rick Swenson expected.
"It’s painful, but as long as I keep my arm down as low as possible below my chest and don’t try to reach out very far it’s not so bad," he said, clacking two bricks of frozen meat together beside his sled. "I’m surprised actually.”
Swenson was one of several mushers to wipe out at the notorious Happy River Valley steps before the Rainy Pass checkpoint. He heard something pop, he said, and a physicians assistant at the checkpoint said he indeed appeared to have a broken collarbone.
“I’m a little slower, because of it, but I think I’m doing a good job," he said
The leaders look like they have decided to enjoy the next twenty four hours hanging out in beautiful downtown Takotna for the mandatory layover.
From ITC - Tokatna - Population 51 -- Situated on the banks of the Takotna River, this town has a store and a restaurant. This is one of the smallest towns with one of the biggest welcomes.
Martin Buser (15 dogs) has been setting the pace followed by Mackey (12 dogs) an hour and a half later. Four would be contenders pushed on to Ophir but the leaders will certainly blow past them just as soon as the layover is done around 8pm ADT. Leader Board HERE
The weather is predicted to be clear and relatively balmy for the next few days so this could turn into a real sprint once the mushers hit the coast.
A few Pics
Mt. Denali and Foraker in the Distance
The Checkpoint at Nicoli
Mushing Through Rainy Pass